Tuesday, August 31, 2004

When Did We Become so Polarized That We Lost Our Ability to Have a Civilized Discussion About Complex Issues?
Ken Parish continues to examine the price of an opinion and the logic behind election (playboyish smile)
While Don Arthur elaborates How politicians can change your vote without changing you

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: DO I REPEAT MYSELF, Electorate's mood hard to gauge
The rule in politics is repetition, repetition, repetition. Not just any words, but THE words - the ones which have been market tested and convey a subliminal message.
German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.
Malcolm Mackerras, one of the most respectable Nostradamus who comes from the land Down Under thinks that John Winston Howard has a better chance to win a fourth term in Australia
than George Walker Bush has to win a second term in the US.
A six week campaign, the longest since Orwell’s 1984. Australia is a bit more like the Spanish case, where you do have one party saying get out and another party staying the course, and the party in power is the one wanting to stay the course ...

[John Howard and Mark Latham are accusing each other of lying, and each has something of a case Porn Diary 39 days to Come]
• · · · As the federal election campaign heats up, blogger Antony Loewenstein counter-spins the news ; [As for invoking Harry Evans in the whole raising the GST rate 12.5% or 15% debate, I'm sure the fastidiously anti-political Evans would be JUST thrilled to have his name dragged into SLI's hate campaign; New Matilda]
• · · · · At the fag end of a Government more than 10 years old: There’ll be plenty more time to provide running commentary on the Federal Election. God knows that there’ll be plenty of opportunities for the Boilermaker to tap into the popular mood at rail stations at 6 in the morning; [Factory Outlets of Grove Lowy pact to block cinema: site owner]
• · · · · · Oedipus wrecks Graeme Wedderburn, chief of staff for the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, and Matthew Strassberg... The Hardie inquiry: The spirit of Oedipus Rex, of turning a blind eye to the bleeding obvious, lurks behind every corporate and organisational disaster

Monday, August 30, 2004

'What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
Lewis Carroll, Author (1832 - 1898)

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Magic Mountains and Rivers are flooding bookstores
Everyone in publishing agrees it is getting harder to sell a new novel, even by a distinguished name, in this country; book buyers seem interested only in non-fiction
She hit the same spot aimed at by those adverts beginning 'Ashamed of your English?' by encouraging people to think they could turn this knowledge to their advantage.
Imrich, therefore I am published [ For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of Proofreadering Australian rechtub klat: If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down ; Three magic verbs: “weighs,” “mulls,” or “considers” ]
• · Gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil
• · · Guy Kawasaki's - Art of the Start manifesto (PDF version)Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments"
• · · · Germany, the country is united, but Easterners are dissatisfied ; [123]
• · · · · ACH, IS immigration a danger or a ray of hope?
• · · · · · As far as I can tell, the first recorded thinking on the "six degrees of separation" theory started in Budapest around 1929. That's when Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story entitled "Chains" in which he postulated that one billion people had only five degrees of separation. He was not a mathematician, scientist or engineer but a poet and writer, so where the number five came from remains unclear. There is absolutely nothing amazing about the six degrees of separation theory

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

3,000 Jobs; 500,000 Seekers
In a story focused on how the company is changing its workforce, that check of Monster provided telling detail and understated irony in an article that could have otherwise been a routine layoff story

Invisible Hands & Markets: Open Spectrum International
Space in Hearts promotes regulatory forms to enable freer public use of the radio spectrum globally. OSInt is a project of Mista v Srdce, a Czech nonprofit formed by Petr Marek in the early 1990s when he was host of Czechoslovak Radio's most popular daily talk program, RadioForum From the "About" page on the site:
OSInt hopes to promote international awareness of Open Spectrum as a practical and desirable option, especially in emerging democracies and less-developed countries. Gathering and translating the best of the OS literature, participating in foreign regulators' public consultations, organizing workshops and conferences, developing this website as a resource, and working with transnational policymaking institutions - these are our initial plans.

Free speech ; [ Follow the Money: How John Kerry Busted the Terrorists' Favorite Bank ; World Bank Ignores its own Advice ]
• · AP Handing over keys, not control...Campaign turns nasty...Political billions
• · · Wisdom: Knowledge economy opportunities for Australian firms in the Asia–Pacific ; [ Queensland’s music industry basics: people, businesses and markets ; Commercialising Australian biotechnology ]
• · · · Government Doing the bidding of Frank Lowy’s Westfield Imbroglio reaches right into Carr’s office – to the door of his Chief of Staff, Graeme Wedderburn ; [Polygraph politics ]
• · · · · Pat Kane argues Play-not Work-is the key to a Healthier Society
• · · · · · Warning PDF version: From riches to rags: what are Nauru’s options and how can Australia help? [Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, The Swan Princess On the persistence of the princess myth]

One of the more significant marks of an authoritarian society is its willingness to distort the truth while simultaneously suppressing dissent.
Henry Giroux on double speak and the politics of dissent
From Trotsky to puppets: Other Velvet Revolutions are possible

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Sex and the Price of Politics
In late 1998, Crisis magazine, which I have the honor to publish, ran a series of articles on "the Catholic vote" which unexpectedly led to my involvement in politics. The articles caught the attention of the nascent Bush presidential campaign and I was asked, and agreed, to be part of the team advising on their outreach to Catholic voters.
Our basic advice, as reflected in our articles, was to target Mass-attending Catholic voters, not the larger group of self-identified Catholics, because Mass attendance is the best indication of a commitment to kind of values taught by the Church and represented by then candidate Governor George W. Bush.
This strategy, meshing perfectly with the theme of "compassionate conservatism," paid off and the candidate's message connected with Catholic voters: Governor Bush received ten percent more of the Catholic vote than Senator Dole had in 1996.

• Deal W. Hudson is publisher of Crisis magazine The campaign of 2004 presents a significantly different environment than 2000 ; [Iraq Major political groups jockeying for power ]
• · Extra Extraordinaire Dox Barista, David Tiley, Serves a Dossier on How Senior public servants help the Government sidestep parliamentary scrutiny, a measure one deemed Kennett-style arrogance [ This unlovely face of the Victorian ALP in government has been spotlighted by the Age ]
• · · Accountability overboard WashMinster Sir Humphrey [Politics has become increasingly the plaything of obsessives. And what obsessives bring to politics...]
• · · · Imre: The Australian hoped to secure a comment from Hawke last night, but none of our reporters were prepared to go near him for fear of ending up with a pain in the gut [link first seen at Backpages]
• · · · · Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete [Human Events Exclusive: A Swift Boat Vets Joined by POWs in Criticism of Kerry]
• · · · · · · Memory and Manipulation The trials of Elizabeth Loftus, defender of the wrongly accused

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Corruption watchdogs have a bad habit of biting the hand that establishes them
The corruption commission has rejected a last-minute public apology from the Premier, Bob Carr, ordering him to appear before the inquiry over a possible contempt.
The former NSW premier Nick Greiner, who set up the Independent Commission Against Corruption in a flurry of corruption-busting fervour 16 years ago, found himself its victim and was eventually forced to resign.
Greiner's National Party deputy, Wal Murray, narrowly avoided being found in contempt of the commission after he likened its proceedings to the Spanish inquisition.
And it was the Premier, Bob Carr - then leader of the Opposition - who tried to sool the commission's head, Ian Temby, on to Murray and cite him for contempt.
Labor's Neville Wran had been forced to stand aside as premier during a royal commission in the early 1980s over allegations he had improperly interfered in a court hearing.

Sunlight is Dangerous to Political Parties [Outspoken nurse fired, inquiry told; Carr's lawyers may be sorry for delay of simple apology; Analysis: Fear of watchdogs who can bite at will]
• · Fear feeds cover-ups: Scrafton; [From axe to cash: Howard loosens purse strings for public service]
• · · Villawood and Beyond: Refugees and asylum seekers: a guide to key resources and recent developments
• · · · Will we go to war over Taiwan?; [Young feel remote from decision-makers; The Great Moravian Empire by the Magyars in 906 Slovakia and the Slovaks (unlike the Czech Slavs to the west of the river Morava, which currently forms part of the border with Austria and the Czech Republic) were an integral part of the Kingdom of Hungary ]
• · · · · Sex trade uncovered in London
• · · · · · Peter Hartcher: What lies beneath; Truth dead in the parliamentary water The hard sell of Grove; Short-sheeted all round [Panthers boss insists he's no fat cat]

Monday, August 16, 2004

The perfect one-line response to the Marxian maxim, From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.
What better incentive does someone need to minimize his abilities and maximize his needs?
Slogans that helped topple communism are now used to defend the welfare system...

Invisible Hands & Markets: The Invisible Hand Bites Its Nails
You know what's efficient? private companies. Much more efficient than the government. That's why we farm everything out to them, because they can do it better, cheaper and more efficiently than the government. And the nice thing is that the unions haven't made them all unaccountable and stuff. Can't fire people in the government, they're unaccountable. Private companies though, muy accountability (via the unlinkable, password-protected, subscriber-only Wall Street Journal
[I'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet]
• · New Statesman An unequal society is an unhealthy society
• · · PDF version States and Markets in an Era of Globalization
• · · · Brotherhood of St Laurence (PDF file) 2004 federal election: call to the parties
• · · · · Invisible Education Why there is no substitute to knowing your stuff Let's remind ourselves here that the UK government's response to a fall off of 21 per cent in the take up of A-level maths was the proposal to make the course easier!
• · · · · · No to moral imperialism - and moral defeatism

Friday, August 13, 2004

We are all Olympians in the eyes of God: While My Favourite Paper tracks Exclusive Olympic Stories, Robert Scheer types at all hours at his Summer Olympics blog

OLYMPIC GAMES With the countdown entering its final phase high hopes enter our hearts: On Your Marks
Finally, someone else gets to host an Olympics and Sydney is relegated to the role of married older sibling watching with patronising amusement as a younger brother or sister prepares for the big day.
First thing first, Czech Out the official home for Athens 2004 Greece will make history once again, as it did in 1896 with the revival of the Games.
The graphics are eerily familiar and much of the information reflects all those issues we were so concerned about four years ago: tickets, transport, volunteers, etc. There is an impressive interactive schedule of every session of every sport. So if you simply have to see the Preliminary Duet Free Routine of the synchronised swimming, you'd better keep the morning of August 24 (Australian-time) free.
The other big "official" Olympics site belongs to the IOC, where you are left in no doubt that the international sporting fest is a Very Important Thing Indeed. This dry effort is short of anything resembling fun or excitement.
Here, for example, is the bizarre entry under a section entitled Passion: Over and above sporting exploits, Olympism is a source of multiple passions which unite the worlds of sport, art, culture and collections. Olympism is a state of mind and the Olympic Museum is its symbol. Glad we got that straight.

ATHENS OLYMPICS ON LINE [A hit of escape, the suggestion of Olympic stamina, balanced with a surreal experience: If I could get every teenager to memorise it, the future world would not be peppered with bullies]
•· · Olympians barred from blogging? No blogging from Olympic village [ Making the case for Milo of Croton, winner of 6 consecutive Olympic wrestling titles before 500BC, to be named as greatest Olympic champion of all time]
•· · Great Aussie hopes for gold All that glitters is gold, they say. See who amongst the Australian team is most likely to reach glittering glory in Athens
•· · · PVRBlog: Tips and thoughts and comments; [ The idea doesn't have to be Olympic. It just has to change the world]
•· · · Will Athens win a gold for security? [ GREEK SECURITY TEAM FAILS TO NOTICE GIANT HORSE ; Security Czech and Slovak Style anti-chemical warfare specialists to help guard the Olympics: The country's specialised troops were the only ones to detect traces of nerve gas in the Saudi Arabian desert during the 1991 Gulf War]

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

2004 UK defence cuts: possible Australian implictions In mid July 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence outlined potential cuts of up to 25 per cent in existing UK combat systems and 20 per cent in UK personnel numbers within four years.

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: An End to Poverty?
A wealth of ideas about an age-old problem...
The poor have, proverbially, always been with us, even if ideas about who they are, what poverty is, and why it exists, keep changing. It's less clear how far back the notion of abolishing poverty goes. Probably, as Gareth Stedman Jones suggests, utopian dreams of a world without want are age-old. It was only in the late 18th century, though, that serious debates first emerged.

By Gareth Stedman Jones [FTA Amerika and Australia Agree to Disagree ]
• · John Quiggin the election of a non-partisan President Major parties have been increasingly willing to replace party nominees with Independents, for offices including MPs, Lord Mayors ... [for legal aspect see Ken Parish ]
• · · Public V Private Schools: Go private? Not even if it were free, say loyal parents
• · · · Scott McMillan: Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, al-Qa'ida operative
• · · · · Chernobyl II Accident at Japan nuclear plant
• · · · · · Partisan Rhetoric (PDF version) David Bennett on The 2004 Election: A Watershed Moment

Monday, August 09, 2004

Russia introducing a new law to scrap the highly inefficient, Communist-era welfare system

Invisible Hands & Markets: Contract Figures Show Halliburton's Startling Growth
Halliburton, the giant services firm formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, saw a sixfold increase in earnings from contracts with the Defense Department last year, making the Houston-based company the nation's seventh largest defense contractor.
Halliburton received Pentagon contracts worth $491 million in 2002; that figure shot up to $3.1 billion in 2003.
Data on the top 200 federal contractors was compiled for Government Executive by Eagle Eye Publishers Inc. of Fairfax, Va., from information collected by the General Services Administration.
The bulk of Halliburton's 2003 federal revenues derived from two contracts let by the Army to Halliburton's engineering and construction division, Kellogg, Brown and Root, before the invasion of Iraq. Under one contract, the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, which ultimately could be worth up to $5.6 billion, the company provides logistical support to troops, such as cooking, laundry, housing and other services. The other agreement, known as the RIO contract, worth $2.5 billion, was to fight oil-field fires that U.S. commanders anticipated before the start of the war and to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure during reconstruction.
Both contracts have been controversial. David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office, told the House Government Reform Committee in June that a GAO audit showed that the LOGCAP contract was poorly managed.

GAO found that the Corps properly justified the sole-source contract to KBR to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure ; [To pursue profits: The American President Calvin Coolidge once said that the business of America is business ]
• · Economics does not contain all the answers of life, nor does it claim to: It does, however, show how the morally acceptable desire for profit leads to spontaneous social cooperation that obviates the need for a bloated state apparatus to direct production [ Free Raid Agreement: Interview: Tony Abbott]
• · · CickiRail Excuses for same old grind In October next year Rail of NSW will be 150 years old: Sydney trains and railway stations are like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie -- a futuristic, industrial detention area from a Mad Max [This coincides with the death of Ruth Morrison, 82, of Bayview, Sydney, who fell from an Indian Pacific carriage early on Monday: Great Southern Railway Safety]
• · · · Invisible Marketing Reed-Elsevier Boss Defends Profits ; [Search rival Google owns one of the better Blogging solutions, called Blogger.com. And right now, when it comes to Google, all bets are off!; [Dear Media Dragons, Media Discover Promotional Potential of Blogosphere]
• · · · · Making Fatal Headlines ; [Forget the Media Dragons, it's the Video Dragons showing the way on the internet ; Internet fraud targets John Kerry supporters]
• · · · · · When oil was found in 1996 in Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony in West Africa was one of the poorest countries in the world: The Boom that only Oils the Wheels of Corruption

Sunday, August 08, 2004

There is one piece of advice, in a life of study, which I think no one will object to; and that is, every now and then to be completely idle,—to do nothing at all.
Sydney Smith, Lectures on Moral Philosophy

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Literature, Like Wood From Cold River, is Immortal
Cut from logs that sank maybe two centuries ago as they were being floated to frontier settlements, the wood -- rot-free because there's almost no oxygen in the cold waters where it was preserved -- has a richness and density rare in younger timber.
What of the last or late period of life, the decay of the body, the onset of ill health (which, in a younger person, brings on the possibility of an untimely end)? These issues, which interest me for obvious personal reasons, have led me to look at the way in which the work of some artists acquires a new idiom towards the end of their lives - what I've come to think of as a late style.

The Luthier's Secret: Cold Water & Vibrational Energy [It Takes A Village of Vrbov To Cross The Cold (War) River ... But I'll Will Not Dob Vrbov In, I promise ; The Deadline Poet Gets Political (And Popular) ]
• · 'Operation Homecoming: Writing In A Time Of War [Art exists in a context inevitably conditioned by politics, and politics and the values behind it express themselves in art. There is an obvious linkage between mass commercial art and politics, quite apart from individual actors and directors and pop musicians espousing a political view. Popular art makes money by reflecting what its producers think people want: But given the leftward tilt of Hollywood and our coastal cultural elites, the right has reason to complain that commercial television, films and music often advance a left-leaning political agenda ]
• · · Cold River Will Make You A More Dangerous Person: There are dangers. But there are riches. And we can find them, if only we disperse the pious fog that is gathering around book culture. At their best, books are invitations to fight, not calls to prayer [Keeping Track Of Books (Readers Too?)
• · · · Why Do We Read? I suspect reading Cold River is a form of structured escape and voyeurism- like a dream, but under better control: Without books, history is silent, literature is dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill
[We don't need no thought control]
• · · · · Cold Celluloideyes: We love to videotape and film things because we get the impression that film is forever
• · · · · · People are prepared to believe the worst of the Politics - even in the 21st Century AD A political song is one that if you played it to Mark Latham, Tony Abbot or Donald Rumsfeld, they would give up their career and enter a monastery

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

In the Boilermaker’s last musings, he noted the travels of peripatetic Parliamentary Committee staffer, Ian "Wanderin Man" Faulks, who has taken a few of his Committee overlords to foreign fields to broaden their knowledge of road safety and anti-corruption bodies. Word has reached the Boilermaker that none other than Peter Breen had a close call regarding one of Faulks’ proposed trips.
Breen, a member of the Ombudsman oversight committee, was in Perth last September to participate in a round table on anti-corruption bodies following the Kennedy Royal Commission.
Apparently Faulks wandered up to Breen, who didn’t know him from a bar of soap, and asked him if he wanted to go to Bangladesh the following Sunday. Breen thought about it for an hour, but eventually
refused the offer. Breen headed home from Perth, and the following day, his office was raided by ICAC. Imagine the indignity – on top of accounting for your visits to Lismore, having to justify a junket to Dhaka!
Alan Jones Greek Style: What better way to have 2GB promote the Games than getting Alan to once again don the foustenalla, fessi and tsarouhi? Petition 2GB now!

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Power trip is often over a bumpy road
The who's who of influence in Australia shows how tenuous authority can be.
Power is not all it's made out to be. Last Friday The Australian Financial Review Magazine published its annual power survey - in between advertisements for Volvo cars, Rolex watches, ERC Fusion golf gear and Canturi jewellery. That evening the Power 2004 survey got a run on the Ten Network news, along with advertisements for fast food. Clearly the news judgement is that the concept of power is of interest throughout society.

Power and Politics; [ Daniel Drezner (Chicago) and Henry Farrell (GWU): Power and Politics of Blogs (PDF Format)
• · There was too much rumour and speculation, gossip and innuendo Crime and prejudice: it's time for the authorities to lighten up turf warfare
• · · The inscriptions at American graveyards admonish the visitor to remember sacrifice, courage, and freedom; they assume somebody bad once started a war to hurt the weak, only to fail when somebody better stopped them: St. Avold: If the Dead Could Talk
• · · · Capitol Hill Blue: Bush is taking anti - depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior or perhaps his fabulous tendencies]
• · · · · Business Week: Unbearable costs of empire; [ Reinventing Hierarchy: The Political Theory of Social Ecology ]
• · · · · · Although we live in an open society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to speak out about public and private corruption, dangers to the public, threats to freedoms and other matters of vital social importance: NSW Aborigines ... Black land, white shoes with strings attached

Monday, August 02, 2004

How some truths tends to stay the same. Hell yeah! The article linked below triggered many surreal memories of months and months of lining up for work with other migrants at the dollar wall in Traiskirchen, the Viennese refugee camp. Although in Sydney one had to travel from Villawood to Flemington at 4 am for a prospective heavy lifting yakka, the longish trip seemed to be generally lot more productive than the short side walk in Traiskirchen. Even if the pay was pathetic the fruit from Queensland was just divine ... and the Greek and the Italian lessons were always free!
As bloggers of broken English, we metaphorically line up along the cyber-wall and most days we get a satisfaction of being part of some kind of human experiment whose little joys include a simple comment here; a thoughtful link there; and building hope everywhere. There is even that prospect that one day we might enjoy a hearty multicultural lunch accompanied by home made grapa which will allow our conversations to puncture the surface with amazing stories about survival skills ...the perils and wonders of exile are embedded in our destiny. While the possibilities might be infinite, they can make the bravest man feel scared. We all know too well that an imperfect beings cannot make perfect decisions.
The wailing immigrant wall, is not a topic that has been explored too often in literature or movies. It's a place that reinvents itself almost on a daily basis, especially when the surreal (de) inflation hits. Who, living in the Villawood (Our Australian Hollywood) Hostel in September 1980, would disagree with the young character, a Lady to be, Mary Wein, whose parents migrated to Australia from Poland in 1920s. In her memoirs Lady Fairfax wrote, I came home to my father one day. I was the youngest, at 22, single, female, wage-earner in NSW. Dad I have found out about money. It is lovely stuff, it makes you free. (Ach, according to my Irish spies that Lady Mary will soon feature on the cover of their very own Vogue magazine.) Through the lenses of my favourite paper, the Fairfax press, I learned about Frank Lowy, Czechoslovak-born Australian, who emerged as a successful entrepreneur whose rags-to-riches story one might have expected to google on the screen of the real Hollywood.
By sheer coincidence, it was John Newman, the Australian Yugoslav, who spread the word of various job opportunities in the Slavic pub at Cabramatta and during the October Fest of 1981. Newcomers piggybacked on tips, networks and contacts over a beer. In the life of a migrant, the big news event is not who came in first in the Bass Hill election. It was the paying job for me and for my friends. The Slavic pub, situated opposite the rail station almost next door to the Austrian Club where my Bay St, Croydon, neighbour Frank used to play on Saturday nights, was not far from a home where John Newman, the member for Cabrammatta, would be shot fourteen years later. As I later learnt the area around the pub was practically the Grand Central Station of the Sydney drug trade, where on average one person a month overdosed. [My next big dream is to examine in more details the story of migrant experiences in the 1980s so if you know of any souls who happened to cross their paths with hostels at Traiskirchen or Villawood or Coogee please let them know about it.]

Invisible Hands & Markets: Brick wall is all many Poles find in London
They call it the wailing wall, but the only act of devotion on this west London street corner is to mammon not God.
Dozens of young, newly arrived Polish men line up here every day, often all day, waiting in vain for the promise of jobs in the new Europe to materialise.
They look like a ragtag collection of heavy-set male prostitutes.
For many the days are turning into weeks as optimism turns to desperation, dreams to poverty and squalor. London was not supposed to be like this.
Back home the papers had told them by joining the European Union on May 1, hard-working Poles would be welcomed in Britain with open arms. There were tens of thousands of well-paid, legal jobs.
But the truth is the opposite. There are jobs ads at the wall, the window of Mr Patel's newsagency in Hammersmith just down from the Polish cultural centre. And, as members of the newly expanded 25-nation EU, the Poles are free to work in Britain. But most of the jobs are either gone, non-existent or so poorly paid (about $9 an hour) that they barely cover rent and food. The day's best outcome is for a builder's van to pull up looking for workers. Then, witnesses say, there's a mad scramble. But that is if the employer actually pays them.

The local Polish newspaper, Dziennik Polski, has been deluged with calls from Poles who say they were dudded after a week of hard labour and sacked with a minute's notice [link first seen at Isn't it really terrible to be an adult in the Free Speech Zone? What ideas are we willing to live and die for? ]
• · Chilly Puritanism defined by H.L. Mencken as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time:
Dancing in the Streets: Revolution with a Smile

• · · James Hardies and Ethics: Duties to rich clients
• · · · See Also The IMF says its policies crippled Argentina
• · · · · On postmodern slogans and the difference between Christian practice and a Starbucks purchase
• · · · · · · Prague Post has a photo and a story which has over 200 links on Google this morning. One and all news agencies are covering this story as athletes from different countries are heading to Europe for the Athens Olympics hand grenade exploded outside a casino on Na Prikope, a street near Wenceslas Square; Scotsman: A car exploded injuring at least 16 people in a crowded shopping area in Prague

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Attorney General John Ashcroft has put a plug in the whistle of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Ms. Edmonds, a naturalized US citizen born in Turkey, is at the center of one of the most interesting government secrecy debates in... Office of Inspector General backs FBI whistle-blower

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The Spectator has hit rock bottom
No individuality. No dissent. No private property. No choice. No freedom. And Matthew Parris, political columnist for the freaking Times, loved it. He concludes by admitting that communism failed - you're really going out on a limb there, Matthew - but falls back on the tired "it was great in theory but failed in practice" line.
This is what The Spectator has become. Now that they've published apologias for Saddam Hussein and the Soviet Union, I wonder what's next? North Korea? Fascist Italy? (It's not yet acceptable to praise Nazi Germany, but give it a few years...)

Matthew Parris praises the hope and decency of Soviet communism ; [No cover-up - and victims' families outraged; Ach, the good old days, when for a pair of Levis and a pack of Marlboros you could buy anybody westernstandard.blogs.com/ ]
• · An extraordinary archive of some of the most important documentary evidence from the Revolution, including 338 texts, 245 images, and a number of maps and songs Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring The French Revolution
• · · It was the week the US Democratic Party held its quadrennial national convention in Boston Hope is on the way, culminating in the crowning of Senator John Kerry as their presidential candidate [ John Kerry is a good man, who knows how to steer a ship through troubled waters ]
• · · · A Chat With Middle East Expert Bernard Lewis: Europe Will Be Islamic By the End of the Century
• · · · · Mordechai Vanunu was the Israeli atomic spy: Atom Expert Warns of a Second Chernobyl in Israel
• · · · · · · van StrpkaSlovakia: The Past is Now: I cut an apple in two, yet it remains whole ; Ivan Klima - Czech Story: put my trust in God, that after the wrath of the storm has passed by, the storm that we have brought over our heads through our sins, control over your own affairs shall return to you, oh Czech people!

How To Be Creative: Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me.... your company needs you now more than it ever did

Invisible Hands & Markets: We Have No Shame: Global Hunger
Malnutrition makes the poor less productive. To beat poverty, hunger must first be defeated
PEOPLE in very poor countries are, on average, less intelligent than those in rich ones. Some readers may be shocked by this statement, so let's rephrase it. Some 800m people do not have enough to eat. Without proper nutrition, the human body cannot develop properly. That includes the brain. Those who are ill-fed tend to end up both physically shorter and less mentally agile than they otherwise would have been. Hunger also spurs millions of children to drop out of school in order to scavenge for food, and those who manage to attend school despite empty bellies find it excruciatingly hard to concentrate.
Famines grab more headlines, but chronic malnourishment is a far more serious problem because it is so widespread...

Empty bowls, heads and pockets [On a more Positive Note The Economist Encourages Readers to Czech Out The New Golden Age of Philanthropy If money can't buy you happiness, why do they look so pleased with themselves?]
• · Is Dems' Biggest Money Man Mob-Connected? Stephen Bing, a wealthy film producer
• · · See Also Taxable income and tax paid in Commonwealth electoral divisions, 2000–01 ; [Paying off your house can be a fate worse than debt]
• · · · The continent of my birth is now known as The Land of Leisure; [Norway is looking for ways to keep its workers on the job; Workplaces in Germany and France Undergoing Velvet Revolution; Speaking of Revolution the Britons have taken a leaf out of Bohemian book and are Leaving in Greater numbers than ever before.]
• · · · · Bradford DeLong: The Era of Incompetence when it comes to Inflation, Deflation, Anti-flation: Time to Blow the Issues Up?; [ Banks relearn the value of branches]
• · · · · · Baring all for Canada Pitty the Immigration officers who have to pore through naked pictures of hundreds of exotic dancers to keep impostors out of Canadian lap dancing market

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